I’ve taken a little longer this time to gather my thoughts – taking my lead from Sid, my former features editor – before delivering my verdict on the second episode of the latest Dr Who.
Alas, I’m still not convinced it is working.
Previous series have hit the ground running and kept sprinting forward. This time around, Dr Who got off to a fairly stumbling start with the first episode and followed it up with a hit and miss (largely miss) romp around Pompeii.
It could be due to the fact that I don’t like it when the Doctor does period pieces, it always seems far too contrived and forced. The Roman era adventure fell into that category, but with the added irritation of being plain daft.
The silliness was layered throughout the programme and clearly the choice of Catherine Tate as David Tennant’s new sidekick has prompted a decision to inject a lot more laughs. The big problem is, they aren’t always funny.
I’m sure cast and crew are having a high old time, but they’ve made the mistake of forgetting about the viewers.
This isn’t a charge you could lay at the team’s feet up to this point. Self-indulgence is always a trap many on TV fall into – from drama through to news (sic) programmes – and it appears the Dr Who team have got themselves well and truly caught.
The Pompeii romp, like the Shakespeare nonsense and the Dickens bore that spoiled previous series, simply didn’t work. It clearly owed a lot to Up Pompeii and the Carry On… films and it is nothing new for Dr Who to heavily reference other TV and films.
But this homage was badly misplaced. At least the Doctor didn’t try and pull off the: “Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me,” gag.
Present-day, UK-based episodes can work brilliantly – Blink being an obvious example. However, the Doctor and Donna need to get stuck into some serious space exploration in the next few weeks to win me around.
And if they are going to time travel, then they should go forward and not back.